Not Your Average Gluten-Free Meal Plan

July 25, 2012

Not Your Average Gluten-Free Meal Plan

Susan Maloney

Athlete for Awareness Susan Maloney shares her gluten-free bodybuilder diet.

Today, I thought I would share some updates and give everyone a snapshot of the differences between a typical gluten-free athlete’s diet and that of a competitive bodybuilder. I was inspired to write this as I read Peter Bronski’s blog about how he stayed adequately fueled during his last ultramarathon. (Great job, by the way, Peter!)

Many athletes will follow a specific and very micronutrient detailed formula for carb and energy replacement when engaging in races or events that are ultra in nature, or require continuous fuel so as not to bonk and hit that proverbial wall. This reminded me of my ‘old running days’ when I carried gel packs and various forms of carb replacement fuel to keep my muscles and cells well-nourished. In retrospect, I carried about 15 more pounds on my frame then when running and doing triathlons and such. This is a vast difference from the nutrient and fuel needs consumed in order for me to stand on stage and compete in drug-free bodybuilding competitions; the goal here is to be as ripped up lean and striated as possible, while maintaining muscle belly fullness, symmetry and an overall balanced physique.

Since being diagnosed with celiac disease and secondarily a fructose malabsorption, I have had to get savvy with my food choices. The average athlete uses high protein and higher carb sources of fuel such as rice, beans, grains and others that are great gluten-free options, but not foods that will necessarily help me to present my leanest physique on stage.

Vegetables have always been my main carb source year round, and especially when prepping for a show. My doctors limited my vegetables (the higher fructose containing ones, such as my favorite asparagus, zucchini, and pretty much everything aside from ½ cup spinach a day). This has presented a significant obstacle to my training and I sadly had to withdraw from competing in the Master’s Pro World Cup challenge as my body simply did not respond well to the added high carb grains.

Additionally, my gastroenterologist has suggested I follow a completely vegan diet plan given that I have refractory celiac disease, which continues to present me with daily symptoms. So, I have been researching all things plant proteins and am now pursuing new dietary options. This has been a real challenge for me; taking away a bodybuilder’s whey and animal proteins was a bit of a rattle to me, but I am finding some new and interesting companies, products, and will be writing about my next journey; a totally vegan bodybuilding competitive meal plan! I’m looking to be the next and perhaps first Pro competitive vegan bodybuilder…so stay tuned as I fine tune things on my end!

I welcome your thoughts and questions….thank you!

In health,


To ask Susan a question, email

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with “Question for Susan” in the Subject line.

Related Articles:

Q&A with a Sports Performance Coach for Gluten-Free Athletes

Staying Energized on a Gluten-Free Diet